News Digest: Digest Week of October 17

October 17

Domestic: Protests endured for a 31st day following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurd who was detained for “improper” dress. The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child condemned Iran for “grave violations of children’s rights,” including the killing of at least 23 children during the crackdown on protestors. 

International: The European Union imposed new sanctions on 11 Iranians and four institutions, including the Morality Police, for human rights violations. “Unanimous decision today to take action against those in Iran responsible for the death of Mahsa Amini and violent repression of peaceful protests,” E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tweeted. “The EU will always act against serious human rights violations.” 

Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian condemned the new E.U sanctions. “Down a well-worn path of ineffective sanctions, the EU today adopted further superfluous sanctions on Iranian persons. It is an unconstructive act out of miscalculation, based on widespread disinformation. Riots and vandalism are not tolerated anywhere; Iran is no exception,” he tweeted.

International: In a phone call, President Ebrahim Raisi told Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al Said that Iran was keen on expanding bilateral ties. Raisi accused the United States of “sedition,” a reference to Washington’s support for protests in Iran. “The Iranian nation will not be passive towards America's hostile actions,” he warned.

Diplomacy: E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed pessimism about restoring the 2015 nuclear deal. “I don’t expect any move, that’s a pity because we were very, very close,” he said.

Diplomacy: U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said that nuclear talks were “not even on the agenda” for the United States because Iran kept making unrelated demands. “And as long as that’s the case, the talks will be stopped,” he told CNN.  


October 18

Domestic: Strikes connected to the protests reportedly continued along Persian Gulf coast petrochemical companies and spread to steel and tire factories.

Sports: Elnaz Rekabi, a professional climber, left the world championships competition in South Korea after competing without her headscarf on October 16. In an Instagram post, she claimed that she had forgotten to put on her hijab. Rekabi had been lauded on social media by users from around the world for what appeared to be an act of rebellion.   

International: Iran condemned the European Union for imposing new sanctions. “It is deeply regrettable that certain political motivations as well as relying on baseless, distorted information and fabricated claims by the enemies of the Iranian nation and the well-known media affiliated with them are the basis of such a wrong and unconstructive decision,” the foreign ministry said. It also threatened retaliatory sanctions on E.U. officials and entities.

International: The foreign ministry denied reports that Iran had supplied Russia with armed drones for use against Ukraine. It said that Tehran was neutral and that “such baseless claims” were part of a propaganda campaign waged by foreign media.

Economy: The Guardian Council approved legislation that would cut tariffs on raw material and machinery imports from four percent to one percent.

International: Iran’s U.N. mission condemned alleged attacks on Iranian diplomats and embassies in Europe during the first month of protests. The “well-organized violence” was “part of a larger campaign that some states have been waging against Iran,” Deputy Permanent U.N. Representative Zahra Ershadi said. She cited alleged attacks in Germany, Britain, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Greece, Bulgaria, and the Netherlands.

International: Ukraine’s foreign ministry proposed cutting ties with Iran for supplying drones to Russia. “The actions of Iran are vile and deceitful,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said. “We won’t suffer them, because all those actions were done while Iran told us that they didn’t support the war and won’t support any of the sides with their weapons.”


October 19

Environment: The head of Iran’s Department of Environment traveled to Baku, Azerbaijan for the sixth Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea. Representatives from Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan participated as well.

Security: The IRGC reportedly built a bridge capable of carrying armored vehicles across the Aras river along Iran’s border with Azerbaijan.

Economy: Canada sanctioned six Iranians and four entities for “gross and systematic violations of human rights, ongoing grave breach of international peace and security and continued state-sponsored disinformation activities.” Canada sanctioned Mohammad Karami–an IRGC Qods Force commander– as well as the Guardian Council, the Assembly of Experts, the Expediency Discernment Council, and Fars News Agency.

Economy: Iran sanctioned several British entities–including BBC Persian, Iran International, the National Cyber Security Centre of Britain, and the British Government Communications Headquarters–for supporting protests. It also sanctioned nine individuals, including government officials and military commanders. Iran charged that the sanctioned entities and individuals were “deliberately supporting terrorism and terrorist groups, promoting and instigating terrorism, violence and hate-mongering and violation of human rights.” 

Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian warned that Iran would sanction U.S. and British entities responsible for the “imposition of sanctions against the Iranian nation and also institutions that supported the riots and unrest in Iran.” The sanctions would reportedly target at least 4 entities and 15 individuals.

Sports: Elnaz Rekabi arrived in Tehran to a crowd of hundreds of people chanting her name in support. She reiterated that she did not purposefully compete in the Seoul climbing championships without her headscarf on October 16. “Regarding this topic, as I already explained on my social media stories–it totally happened accidentally,” she said in an interview with IRNA. “I was unexpectedly called upon and I attended the competition. I somehow got busy with the equipment, and it made me negligent to the hijab.” Rekabi was reportedly questioned by Iranian sports officials in Tehran.

International: The United States, Britain, and France charged that Iran violated U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 by exporting drones to Russia with a range of 300 kilometers or more. The Western powers made the accusation during a closed-door Security Council meeting.

“We now have abundant evidence that these UAVs are being used to strike Ukrainian civilians and critical civilian infrastructure,” the State Department said. “As Iran continues to lie and deny providing weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine, we are committed to working with allies and partners to prevent the transfer of dangerous weaponry to Russia. We will not hesitate to use our sanctions and other appropriate tools on all involved in these transfers.”

Security: Supreme Leader Khamenei boasted about Iran’s drones in a speech to academics. “When images of Iranian drones were published a few years ago, they would say they’re photo-shopped,” he said. “Now they say Iranian drones are dangerous, why do you sell them or give them to so-and-so?”

Security: Security forces had reportedly detained at least 14 foreign citizens during protests, according to Fars News Agency. The detainees were citizens of the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and Austria.


October 20

International: Canadian Foreign Minister, Melanie Joly, planned to host a virtual of more than a dozen of the world's female foreign ministers to discuss women’s and human rights in Iran. “My counterparts and I will gather to send a clear message: the Iranian regime must end all forms of violence and persecution against the Iranian people, including their brutal aggressions against women in particular.”

Economy: The European Union announced new sanctions on three Iranian individuals and one entity for providing Russia with drones for its war in Ukraine.

Economy: Britain sanctioned three Iranians–including Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Mohammad Hossein Bagheri and two men affiliated with Iran’s drone program–and a defense manufacturer for Iran’s supply of drones to Russia. 

International: The United States issued a joint statement with the Freedom Online Coalition condemning Iran’s internet shutdowns. “In furtherance of what has become a longstanding pattern of censorship, the Iranian government has to a large scale shut down the Internet yet again for most of its 84 million citizens nationwide by cutting off mobile data; disrupting popular social media platforms; throttling Internet service; and blocking individual users, encrypted DNS services, text messages, and access entirely,” the statement said. “We emphatically call on the Government of Iran to immediately lift restrictions intended to disrupt or prevent their citizens from accessing and disseminating information online and from communicating safely and securely.”

Sports: Iranian and Qatari transport and development officials discussed increasing bilateral ties and particularly transportation and tourism cooperation for the 2022 World Cup.

Economy: Iranian automotive companies signed an agreement with the Venezuelan Transport Ministry to export Iranian cars.

International: Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian said that Iran was “unequivocally opposed” to changes in internationally recognized borders during a trip to Armenia. Azerbaijan and Armenia had clashed over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area in September.


October 21

Cyber: Hacking group Black Reward reportedly hacked Iran’s nuclear energy organization and released emails of a subsidiary company, the Nuclear Energy Production and Development Co. The group published information on the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, nuclear contracts, and the power plant in southwestern Bushehr. Black Reward demanded the release of political prisoners and an end to the crackdown on protests.

Security: Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian again denied that Iran had provided drones to Russia. “Iran does not send arms to the warring sides in Ukraine and wants an end to the war and an end to the displacement of people,” he said in a call with E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. Amir-Abdollahian condemned European countries for supporting “rioting, terrorism and vandalism in Iran due to the wrong analysis of the situation and under the pretext of defending human rights.”

International: British, French, and German diplomats called on the United Nations to investigate reports of Iran’s supply of drones to Russia, which could be a violation a U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231.

Security: Ukrainian officials claimed that Ukrainian strikes had killed 10 Iranians that were reportedly training Russian soldiers on how to use drones. 

Security: Iranian officials claimed that they seized two U.S. naval drones “for posing threats to the safety of maritime traffic.” The United States denied the claim.


October 22

International: Iran claimed that the United States was supporting protests in Iran to force concessions in nuclear negotiations. “The Americans continue to exchange messages with us, but they are trying to fan the flames of what has been going on inside Iran in recent days,” Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian said. “I think they are looking to exert political and psychological pressure on Iran to obtain concessions in the negotiations.”  

Security: Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian discussed regional security and economic ties with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Armenia. He voiced support for a permanent peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan.


October 23

Security: Israel had destroyed roughly 90 percent of Iran’s military capacity in Syria, anonymous officials told The Jerusalem Post. Years of extensive airstrikes had hindered Iran’s weapons transfers to Syria as well as efforts to manufacture weapons and build a base there.


Some of the information in this article was originally published on October 18, 2022.